US EPA Publishes 20 High Priority Chemicals

Weltkugel mit Verbindungslinien
2 April, 2019

What’s Happening?

On March 21, 2019 USEPA published a list of chemicals in the Federal Register to begin the prioritization process under TSCA.  The result will be 20 chemicals designated as “high-priority” for risk evaluation and 20 chemicals designated as “low-priority” for which risk evaluation is not warranted at this time.  Publication in the Federal Register initiates a statutory requirement for the Agency to complete the prioritization process in the next nine to twelve months.

How Could It Impact Me?

The process to assess existing chemicals under TSCA includes three steps: prioritization, risk evaluation, and (if warranted) risk management.  It includes well-defined deadlines.  Prioritization includes three stages:

  • initiation - subject to a 90 day comment period
  • proposed designation - including the basis for the designation also subject to a 90 day comment period
  • final designation - high-priority (initiatingrisk evaluation) or low-priority (no risk evaluation)

The proposed high-priority chemicals are as follows:

The list includes seven chlorinated solvents, five phthalates and one phthalate precursor, three halogenated flame retardants, two chemical intermediates, one fragrance ingredient and one ubiquitous substance (formaldehyde).  All were drawn from the 2014 TSCA workplan update.  The proposed low–priority substances all come from the USEPA Safer Chemical Ingredients List:

The Agency has stated that it intends to complete the prioritization process by December 22, 2019.

Bottom Line

A high-priority designation means that USEPA determined it may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment without considering costs or other non-risk factors.  The Agency must take into account the hazards and potential routes of exposure under the substance’s conditions of use, including potential exposure to sensitive subpopulations (e.g., infants, children, elderly).  High-priority designation starts the clock on a three-year risk evaluation process, during which USEPA must make a definitive determination if the substance poses an unreasonable risk. 

The 90-day comment period on the proposed prioritization began March 21, 2019.  If you manufacture or import any of the proposed high-priority substances, or use them as raw materials, review data in your possession regarding uses, hazards, and exposures.  If you have information that would help inform the risk assessment, or you wish to comment on any of the substances, you can provide the information to the Agency via the dockets listed on the USEPA website.

You should also review your entire product portfolio to determine if any substances might be included in the next group of high-priority candidates. Preference for high-priority designation is given to substances that:

  • are listed in the 2014 Update of the TSCA Work Plan;
  • have persistence and bioaccumulation scores of 3; and
  • High persistence with degradation half-lives of greater than 180 days and high bioaccumulation potential with BCFs/BAFs greater than 5,000 (P3B3)
  • are known human carcinogens and have high acute and chronic toxicity.

Contact Us

knoell USA, LLC  will continue to follow TSCA developments and can provide your company with periodic TSCA updates to assist you in addressing  future regulatory requirements.  knoell USA can also provide representatives of your company with a free consultation to talk through the ongoing issues and how they could affect your business.

Business Units: 
Elizabeth Dederick, Ph.D. Vice President, Industrial Chemicals and Biocides
+1 610 558 3001 Ext. 102 +1 610 558 6025 send mail